FEATURES
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chakri Dynasty commemorated on April 6

Doi Angkhang Chiang Mai

20 Canadian dentists make for better Thai smiles

Chakri Dynasty commemorated on April 6

Banks and businesses to close in observance of holiday 1

Chakri Day (April 6) was first instituted by H.M. King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) in the year 1919 to commemorate all the Kings in the Chakri Dynasty, which started with Rama I and continues to this day with Rama IX, H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great.
The reigning Kings in the House of Chakri brought peace and tranquility to the people within Thailand’s borders and successfully protected the Kingdom, maintaining sovereignty and integrity through crucial periods threatened by European colonization and two World Wars.
In commemorating Chakri Day, the national flag is proudly displayed by the people of Thailand and both government officials and members of the community participate in traditional ceremonies, making offerings of flowers and garlands at the many statues of Kings in the House of Chakri.
The Chakri Dynasty, or the House of Chakri, followed the reign of King Taksin the Great, when He abdicated due to poor health. The Chakri Dynasty was ushered in on 6 April 1782 when a close aid of King Taksin, General Chakri, marched back into Dhonburi and assumed the throne as H.M. King Buddhayodfa the Great. Each Monarch thereafter has had Rama as part of their title.
Banks, government offices and most business offices will close on Thursday, April 6 in observance of this special day.

Chakri Dynasty - Chronology of the present-day Dynasty of Thailand

Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke Maharaj
King Rama I
(1782-1809)

Rama I

King Rama I was born in Ayutthaya on March 20, 1737. The first King of the Chakri Dynasty he moved the capital city from Dhonburi to Bangkok and built the Grand Palace that houses the Emerald Buddha. Helped free Thailand from Burmese control after Ayuthaya succumbed 14 years earlier. He died in Bangkok on September 7, 1809.

Phra Buddha
Lertla Napalai
King Rama II
(1809-1824)

Rama II

King Rama II was born in Ratchaburi on February 26, 1768. He is best remembered for his interest in the arts. The first great poet king of the Chakri Dynasty was renowned for his literature. He was an artist, writer and composer. He died on July 21. 1824.

Phra Nangklao Chaoyuhua
King Rama III
(1824-1851)

Rama III

King Rama III was born in Bangkok on March 31, 1788. He made territorial advances and brought the vassal states of the north and northeast under Bangkok rule. He extensively encouraged international trading and education, enhanced promotion of Buddhism and built many temples. He signed the first treaty with the United States in 1833. He died on April 2, 1851.

Phra Chomklao Chaoyuhua
King Rama IV
(1851-1868)

Rama IV

King Rama IV (Mongkut) was born on October 18, 1804. He modernized Thailand in both commerce and education. He is known as the “Father of Thai Scientists” and famous for his astrology. When His Royal Highness Prince Mongkut became King, he was known in Siam as “Phra Chom Klao”, but foreigners called him Mongkut. He died on October 1, 1868.

Phra Chula Chomklao Chaoyuhua
King Rama V
(1868-1910)

Rama V

King Rama V (Chulalongkorn the Great) was born in Bangkok on September 20, 1853. One of the most beloved and revered kings, He abolished slavery, extensively contacted the Western world, modernized the government, education, transportation, and communication. His diplomacy skills saved Thailand from being colonized during the colonial expansionism period. He died on October 23, 1910.

Phra Mongkut Klao Chaoyuhua
King Rama VI
(1910-1925)

Rama VI

King Rama VI (Vajiravudh) was born at Bangkok on January 1, 1881. He was a great poet and a learned scholar in both Thai and English. He translated the entire works of Shakespeare into Thai. He continued the work of Rama V in modernizing Thailand. He promoted education and established the Boy Scouts in Thailand.
In 1916 during the First World War King Vajiravudh declared war on Germany and sent Thai troops to fight alongside the Allies. He died on November 26, 1925.

Phra Pok-Klaw Chaoyuhua
King Rama VII
(1925-1935)

Rama VII

King Rama VII (Prajadhipok) was born in Bangkok on November 8, 1893. He granted the Constitution to Thailand in 1932. Thailand changed from Absolute Monarchy to Constitutional Monarchy. During his reign the country celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Chakri Dynasty on April 6, 1932. He died in on May 30, 1941.

Phra Chaoyuhua Ananda Mahidol
King Rama VIII
(1935-1946)

Rama VIII

King Rama VIII was born on September 20, 1925. A direct grandson of King Rama V. King Ananda Mahidol received his education in Switzerland returning to Thailand occasionally. Having returned to stay after the end of World War II, his life and his reign came to an abrupt end when he died, on June 9, 1946.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great
King Rama IX (1946 to the present)

Rama IX

King Rama IX (Bhumibol Adulyadej) was born on December 5, 1927. A true Monarch of the people and guiding light for the whole Thai nation. Saved Thailand from many crises, dedicated to raising the living standards of the poor, especially in remote regions. H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej made many state visits abroad as well as receiving many Heads of State in Bangkok. To mark his 60th Birthday in 1987, H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej was proclaimed “The Great”. This year H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej celebrates the 60th anniversary of his ascension to the throne.


Doi Angkhang Chiang Mai

A trip to experience tribal life styles

Painting on Buildings to show devotion towards His Majesty the King, the initiator of The Royal Project

Nopniwat Krailerg
Any visitor to Chiang Mai, having shopped till they dropped and become satiated with a surfeit of temples and market places, perhaps feels the need for a change of scenery and some fresh air. A trip that fulfils all these criteria is to take a leisurely 100 km drive north to the sleepy town of Fang, situated in a stunningly beautiful mountainous area near the Thai-Burmese border. In this area close by Fang, known locally as the “Rose of the North” you will find the Doi Angkhang Nature Resort, located in the mountains just to the west of the town.

Thai-Burma birder sign at Baan Nor Lae military base.

Already feeling invigorated by the clean mountain air, the discerning traveler will find this location a little slice of heaven and ideally suitable for relaxing and recharging one’s batteries. Here can be found a thriving Royal project sponsored by His Majesty the King of Thailand, with the local villagers growing many different vegetables and cold weather fruits, with many guest houses for visitors.
The Angkhang Nature Resort not only contains the Royal project, but has a branch of the Amari Hotel chain, the GM of which is Makoo Techasopon. For those tourists who like to get out and about and see how the other half lives, there are guided tours passing through two Thai tribal villages. On these treks you get an idea of what village life is like in Doi Ankhang, by experiencing the hill tribe life style.

A baby girl comes to school as her parents are busy in the fields.

The guided tour starts from the hotel and calls at a temple containing a Buddha relic. The first part of the route wends its way up the mountain and can be traveled by car because the road is in quite good condition. The next point of interest is a visit to a Lahu Na tribal village where Khob Dong School is located. The school has an infant development center and also provides education from primary level to grade 9. Occupying a place of honor in the entrance to the school, is a painting of His Majesty the King visiting the village people. The hill tribes here are very loyal to his Majesty, holding him in very high regard for providing them with a livelihood by starting the Royal project.
At this school, there are not only regular teachers, but the children are also taught by officers and soldiers of the Royal Forest Department. Also, Makoo from the Angkhang Nature Resort is a special teacher in many fields. There is a Junior Guide course which is part of the 3rd grade curriculum, which is beneficial to the community for giving information to tourists. In certain classes, older students take care of the younger students. The record of achievements of this school is so impressive that it was selected to be an example of projects in the Northern area by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Little merchants offer their product, grass bracelets.

Lahu Na people (Black Musers) have settled around the area of Doi Angkhang for almost 100 years, but Khob Dong village has been occupied for only 50 years. There are 35 families living in the community; with a population of around 300-400 residents. In the past, the villagers earned a living from growing poppies and making illegal drugs, until His Majesty established the royal project. In 1969, the village leader whose name was Jamhor, was the person responsible for abandoning opium growing, and changing over to planting strawberries and flowers for the Royal project instead. Jamhor proudly recalls that His Majesty the King once stopped by and enjoyed a cup of tea with him at his house.
After visiting Baan Khob Dong, the trek continues by walking up the mountain, along a route through the forest to arrive at Baan Nor Lae, a distance of about 2 km. Once out of the forest, the trail passes through Palaung’s vegetable patches containing cabbages and cauliflowers and many fine examples of organically grown produce. The air here is so remarkably fresh that you will want to breathe in and keep it in your lungs.

Old shoes are the norm.

In the village of Baan Nor Lae, there is a building that looks like a temple in a Chinese movie, which is still undergoing construction. The people living here are Buddhist, so they build and decorate their temple in the Bhuddsist style. Nearby the temple is the Baan Nor Lae Handicraft Center, where the Palaung housewives can be seen weaving beautiful cotton cloth in a style unique to the Palaungs, which is available for sale to tourists as souvenirs of their visit. The Palaung’s village is built with local knowledge and their houses are made from bamboo; the walls containing no windows because of the cold weather that is a feature of the mountainous locality. There are many types of roofs; clad with a mixture of tiles, galvanized iron, and cogon. One feature is remarkable; although the bamboo houses are obviously very old, there is no sign of decay or termite damage. Because the villagers cook inside their houses, the smoke from the cooking fires irritates the termites and prevents infestation.

Khob Dong’s vantage point from where we can see Lahu Na’s (Black Muser) houses.

A short distance further, the trek reaches the Thai-Burmese border where Thai soldiers from the Pha Muang Task Force are billeted at the Baan Nor Lae military base located there. This base stands opposite a Burmese military fortress known as the Pa Kee base camp, and there is a company of Burmese soldiers permanently billeted there. One of Thai senior officers said that due to their presence in the area, and that of their Burmese counterparts, the incidence of illegal drug trafficking is decreasing. He added that if the military patrols found opium being secretly planted near the border area, the soldiers immediately destroyed it. In the past few months, military forces have eliminated 4-5 rai of opium plantation at Baan Luang near Doi Angkhang. Periodically they conduct a snap village blockade to search for raw opium; anyone found in possession of this narcotic and consumes it, will be arrested and prosecuted.

As well as this particular route, there are many other scenic routes suitable for bicycles, where visitors to Doi Angkhang can experience beautiful nature, colorful rarely seen birds, and exotic plants. If you want to commune with nature and escape the hot weather and pollution of the city, Doi Angkhang is certainly an ideal place to go.
Thanks go from the Chiangmai Mail reporters to the Angkhang Nature Resort and the military officers of the Pha Muang Task Force for showing us around this beautiful location.

Khob Dong school female students in Girl Scouts’ uniform.

Palaung women work together.

Palaungs and their unique weaving at the handicraft center.

A long climb to Baan Nor Lae.

Trekking route.


20 Canadian dentists make for better Thai smiles

Half way around the world in the name of humanity

Gerry V.
Rotary’s Mobile Dental Clinic Project successfully took place in Chiang Rai province during March. The project was initiated one year ago by the Mission Rotary Clubs (from Mission, British Columbia in Canada) and the Rotary Club of Maechan.

Dr Stanley Soon treating an Akha woman in Huay Chompu.
It aimed at giving free dental care to those who needed it in the Chiang Rai province. Divided into two teams of 10, the volunteers brought 500 kg of material from Canada. This included three dental stations, dental chairs, instruments, and medications. It was a clear act of humanitarian service, providing volunteer service to others and showing once again that every individual has the power to create a difference.
And it will be a different feeling for those people in rural areas who were provided with a dental check up, fillings and everything which belongs to a dental examination. The first team took care of more than 150 patients at Wat Mun Phut, A. Maechan. They were soon joined by the President Elect of Chiang Saen Rotary Club, who is himself a dentist. The team performed countless fillings, extractions, scaling, as well as making partial dentures and giving hygiene advice.

The Rotary teams, from Mission, British Columbia, Canada, together with the local Rotarians.

The second team, under the leadership of Dr. Stanley Soon and Dr. Dave Danksin, went to the remote village of Huay Chompu, about 120 km from Chiang Rai. Arriving at the remote village, after driving kilometers of dirt roads, the team was busy treating patients in a very relaxed but efficient atmosphere. Outside, the villagers were patiently waiting for their turn. The team was formed of two professional dentists from Canada, one Thai dentist, seven assistants and one much needed translator.

Khun Thanin, past president of Rotary Club Maechan, Dr Stanley Soon and a young patient of Huay Chompu
Lloyd Rash, one of the assistants told us that the attitude of the villagers quickly turned from shy and curious to happiness and confidence. Khun Praphan, the head of the village, explained how happy he was to receive this help in such a remote area of the province. Being in charge of four villages, he said that some patients walked more than two hours to come to visit the Mobile Dental Clinic, but some could not make it. He hopes this project could be done again soon.
This is probably what most of the Rotarian volunteers wish too. Lloyd Rash told us that they expected to treat around 120 villagers but a lot could still be done, and many more patients could be taken care of. Smiles on the faces of both children and adults were certainly the biggest reward for the team. While Dr Stanley, Dr Dave and Dr Revadee were busy with their patients, Doug, another assistant, said: “I’m gonna be back and do this again. Oh yes!”